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The new Tesla Model S: leaks and details

By / March 26, 2009

The prototype Tesla Model S all-electric 5-door sedan is driven past journalists after its unveiling in Hawthorne, Calif., Thursday, March 26.

Reed Saxon/AP

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First came the Twitter leak, now real details have emerged on the upcoming Tesla Model S sedan.

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Digg.com founder Kevin Rose, a well-known tech gossip, blew Tesla's surprise today by linking to pictures of the new concept car a few hours before its official unveiling. A Twitter message from Rose directed people to his Flickr page, where curious followers found both exterior and interior photos of the electric car. Two hours later, Rose took down the images at Telsa's request.

"[T]esla called.. asked me 2 take down the pics," he wrote in the followup post. " 'I'm hereby politely but firmly asking you' not sure if they know how the ol' web works."

While Rose obliged, many other sites are still circulating the pictures.

Car blog Jalopnik followed up the news with a whole gallery of authorized Model S shots and some details on the electric sedan.

The Tesla Model S Sedan will have a 300-mile range, 45-minute fast charge capability, a 0-to-60 time of 5.5-seconds and seat seven. Production supposedly starts 3rd quarter of 2011.
Tesla claims the Model S sedan will be produced at a rate of 20,000 units per year, with an expected 3rd quarter of 2011 start of production and an expectation of mid-2012 for when they hope to hit that 20,000-per-year number.

The company claims its Model S will cruise 300 miles on a single charge. The battery rests in the car's floor pan and can be "easily" swapped out for long-range pack that Tesla will rent out for longer trips.

Inside the car, an LCD screen will replace traditional performance gauges and a second, touch-screen panel will sit in the center of the dashboard. The Model S packs in seven seats – five "facing forward with two seats folded down into the trunk," Jalopnik says.

Several of the reports coming out of this Telsa unveiling mention that the six-year-old company has yet to turn a profit.

"Last month, [CEO Elon] Musk said Tesla had secured another $40 million in financing from investors, putting it on track to become profitable by midyear," wrote the AP. "Tesla is still awaiting a response to its application for a $350 million loan from the U.S. Department of Energy, which the company said is necessary for Model S production to go forward."

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